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The city was founded as a trading post by Henry Morton Stanley in 1881 and named Leopoldville in honor of King Leopold II of Belgium, who controlled the vast territory that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not as a colony but as a private property. The post flourished as the first navigable port on the Congo River above Livingstone Falls, a series of rapids over 300 kilometers (190 mi) below Leopoldville. At first, all goods arriving by sea or being sent by sea had to be carried by porters between Leopoldville and Matadi, the port below the rapids and 150 km (93 mi) from the coast. The completion of the Matadi-Kinshasa portage railway in 1898 provided a faster and more efficient alternative route around the rapids and sparked the rapid development of Leopoldville. By 1920, the city was elevated to capital of the Belgian Congo, replacing the town of Boma in the Congo estuary.
In 1965 Mobutu Sese Seko seized power in the Congo in his second coup and initiated a policy of "Africanizing" the names of people and places in the country. In 1966, Leopoldville was renamed Kinshasa for a village named Kinchassa that once stood near the site. The city grew rapidly under Mobutu, drawing people from across the country that came in search of their fortunes or to escape ethnic strife elsewhere. This inevitably brought about a change to the city's ethnic and linguistic composition as well. Although it is situated in territory that traditionally belongs to the Bateke and Bahumbu people, the lingua franca in Kinshasa today is Lingala.
In 1974, Kinshasa hosted the 'Rumble in the Jungle' boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, in which Ali defeated Foreman to regain the World Heavyweight title.
Kinshasa suffered greatly due to Mobutu's excesses, mass corruption, nepotism and the civil war that led to his downfall. Nevertheless, it is still a major cultural and intellectual center for Central Africa, with a flourishing community of musicians and artists. It is also the country's major industrial center, processing many of the natural products brought from the interior. The city has recently had to fend off rioting soldiers who were protesting the government's failure to pay them.

Country Name

Democratic Rep of the Congo.


Total population of Kinshasa as per 2009 was 10,076,099.

Currency Name

Franc Congolais and symbol is CFAF.

Places to Visit Kinshasa

Surrounded by the equatorial forest, Ma Vallee is a scenic African lake

Lake Ma vallee is not far from Kinshasa, it can take about 1.5 hours driving. The scene is really beautiful; you can take pedal boat into the lake. There is one cafeteria but never eat! Of course do not travel alone, you must have some natives.

Waterfall Zongo

Zongo falls is really far from Kinshasa, if you are not comfortable to spend the night in the jungle, you must leave very early in the morning, the way can take 3-4 hours driving, of course dirt roads.
The fall is beautiful, you can climb to a hill just en face of the falls and the wind will splash water hard on you; it's like you taking shower in the air. Take with you anti-mosquito creams, (Congolais mosquitoes are horrible!) take also something to drink and to eat. Do not travel alone, you must have trusted natives.
The Zongo Falls are difficult to reach in anything other than a four-wheel drive vehicle. However, visitors who make the effort are sure not to be disappointed. The best time to visit the Falls is the rainy season when they are at their most spectacular. Be sure to bring your camera to capture this natural phenomenon.

Congo River

A cruise on the Congo River in a motorized wooden boat from Kinshasa to Kisangani or from Kisangani to Kinshasa promises great of experiences, like meeting the local fishermen, pygmies, who live on floating villages. Do not miss this.
The Congo River is the second largest river of world regarding its flow of water (40,000m3 per second) after the Amazon (100,000m3 per second). It is navigable from the mouth to Matadi for ships with a draft of about 7 meters. Up river they are several other reaches separated by rapids, the main one going from Kinshasa to Kinsangani. The Congo River had ... been called Mwanza, Nzadi (which gave Zaire), Rio do Padra?, Rio Poderoso.
The Congo River is the second-longest river in Africa, the longest being the River Nile in Egypt. Forming the extreme south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Congo River then flows on to Stanley Falls and the present-day city of Kisingani, before heading west and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean. The river and the surrounding rainforest were made famous by the adventures of Livingstone and Stanley. This area also appeared in Joseph Conrad's book, 'Heart of Darkness'. Some parts of the river are somewhat impassable, because of their rapids and cataracts - Livingstone Falls is perhaps the best known of these.

The Grand Marche (big marketplace)

The literal translation of the word means the big marketplace. If you are planning to do some shopping during the course of your Kinshasa travel you will have a number of things to your liking. From African masks to woodcarvings, from beaded necklaces to traditional pots the market place is every shopper's dream destination.

The tomb of former President Laurent Kabila

A little away from the market place one can also take a look at the famous Tomb of President Laurent Kabila. This place is held in great respect by the local people who are all praise for the famous leader. He is the one who has paved the path of freedom for the Congolese people.
A visit to the tomb of the former president, Laurent Kabila has to be a feature of every tourist itinerary in the country. Located in the city of Kinshasa, the tomb celebrates the life of Laurent Desire Kabila (1939 to 2001), president of the country between the years of 1997 and 2001. Laurent was actually succeeded by his own son, Joseph Kabila Kabange.

The zoo

To be in Africa and not to have a look at the Kinshasa Zoo is an absolute sin. Let your kids enjoy in the local zoo which is famous for a number of rare and exotic species which are specific to the African continent.

Nyiragongo Volcano

This is just one of several volcanoes which surround Goma and Lake Kivu. The volcano is very active, which means you can see dried lava throughout the town. In 2002 a particularly large volcanic eruption destroyed 40% of the town and caused some fatalities.

Occasions and Festival in Kinshasa

Journes Congolaises de Theatre pour et par l'Enfance et la Jeunesse

An annual festival of theatre held in Kinshasa and dedicated to childhood and youth. The event lasts for six days and attracts thousands of participants.

Liberation Day

People organize events to celebrate Liberation Day throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Lubumbashi Festival

Featuring musicians from southern Africa

Independence Day

Annually celebrated on June 30th. The national flag is raised and various events are held throughout the country.

Festival Tableau Noir, Ecran Blanc

Workshops in film making for young people in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi.

Festival Cultural d'Idiofa

Traditional art, dance, music and costumes from Idiofa in the Bandundu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Festival of Rural Theatre

Held in Kinshasa, this festival features theatre, dancing, singing and music performances.

Temps du Theatre a Lubumbashi

Organized by the Centre of Theatrical Animation in Lubumbashi, seeking to promote artistic dialogue between the various regions in southern Africa.

Kinshasa Book Fair

An opportunity for local publishers to promote their book titles to the public and a chance to bring authors and publishers together

Public Holidays Kinshasa Congo

Date Month Description
1 January New Year's Day
4 January Martyrs Day
15 January Heroes Day (day in lieu)
16 January Heroes Day (Laurent Kabila)
17 January Heroes Day (Patrice Lumumba)
30 April Labour Day
1 May Labour Day
17 May Liberation Day (AFDL Anniversary)
30 June Independence Day
1 August Parents Day
24 December Christmas Day (day in lieu)
25 December Christmas Day
31 December New Years Day (day in lieu)


Unfortunately, for many in the Congo, food is not necessarily a part of daily life. And, when food is available, it usually does not contain the vitamins and minerals required to help ward off disease and maintain proper health. The primary staple, pasty white fufu (manioc tubers, pounded into the texture of oatmeal), is eaten out of a communal bowl. This chunky carbohydrate is accompanied by varying side dishes, depending on wealth, season, and availability. Examples include sweet potatoes, perch, bananas, and plantains. For many rural people, meat is a delicacy reserved for special days or when the family can afford the luxury. Only the right hand is used in eating because it is an insult to conduct any transaction with the left hand, which is used only for bathroom purposes. In the traditional way of eating, the women first serve the men, who usually sit on the chairs in the home. After the men are finished eating, the women and children usually sit on the floor and share the remaining items, resulting in poorer nutrition.
In a congregation prays at an Assembly of God in Bukavu. Due to the efforts of missionaries, the majority of Congolese practice Christianity.
Some areas, however, the women first set aside good morsels of meat for the children and themselves, resulting in better child nutrition rates in these regions.
Fish is a primary food source for many, depending on their proximity to rivers and streams. Some families build their own ponds by diverting small rivers to an area, using bamboo for pipes. Manure, bits of food, and other materials are used as compost in the bottom of the pond to promote the growth of plankton. Fish are then harvested after six months of feeding. Often the women fry or salt the fish that the family did not consume for sale in markets throughout the year.
Many edible treats abound from the palm tree, including wine, oil, fruits, and nuts. Youth learn early to climb high into the trees for nuts, process them by boiling and pounding the nut to make oil, and to tap the base of the tree for wine. This wine starts out not very potent, but as it sits, the alcohol content greatly increases. The palm fruits can also be used for cosmetic purposes.
Riverboats are seen throughout the country, as the river acts as a vital artery for trade and transportation along the populated river banks. On the riverboats, large communal kitchens serve tea and bread for breakfast and rice and beans for lunch and dinner. Urban life has changed many traditional customs, and a thriving restaurant culture exists in Kinshasa. Usually catering to business people and the rich, these expensive places offer French, Chinese, Greek, and Tunisian food as well as traditional chicken cooked in oil with rice.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. A tradition ingrained into the villager's lifestyle is to be extremely generous and giving to all people. Starting with a family's closest kin, members share with one another and especially with the neediest in the community, even when their own health suffers from lack of food. Lavish gifts are bestowed upon visitors, guests, and distant cousins alike. A family's only chicken or goat is often slaughtered for holiday celebrations, funerals, and weddings, and to celebrate births. Traditional beer and palm wine is brewed for these special occasions, which usually involve singing and dancing. Above the drums, singing, and stomping of feet, women ululate shrilly to express their excitement. This encourages the dancers, who then begin to move with a renewed vigor. Main dishes are Posho, maize, beans, plantains.

Emergency Contact Numbers

Local Numbers only

Tourist Information:

National Office of Tourism of the Republic of Congo
General Delegation
PO Box 9502
Building SOMIP 1st Level
68, Boulevard du 30 Juin
Democratic Republic of Congo
Phone: (+243-12) 33945
Fax: (+243-12) 33781



In Kinshasa there are no official taxis, but you can hire a taxi express, as they name it (unmarked). They generally tout for a client near the Gallerie Presidentielle on Blvd 30 Juin. For a day trip they'll charge about $30.
Since the city doesn't have a formal public transportation system, people have to rely on taxi-vans or regular taxis to get around. And in big city of about 8 million people where a lot of people have to commute great distances to go to work, this means a huge traffic chaos on a daily basis.

Rent A Car

You can find a lots of deals from car renters e.g. ?56 per week etc


There is no train service in Kinshasa City for traveling with the city.